siglinde99: (Ballet)
Last Monday I headed to El Salvador for a few days. It was lovely except for a few hitches.
1) On the way to the airport, I tidied up my knapsack and managed to leave my phone charger in the taxi.
2) I made my connection in Chicago, but my luggage did not. Luckily I had some essential clothing and supplies in my knapsack, as I didn't see my suitcase again until late Wednesday night. My colleague was not so lucky, as he forgot his wallet somewhere in Chicago or on the plane. It still hasn't shown up as far as I know.
3) I had bought a replacement phone charger at the Ottawa airport, but left it behind at my hotel in Usulután on Tuesday.
4) I didn't lose anything on Wednesday or Thursday, but I did forget to pay Clara back after she accidentally covered the cost of our hotel rooms on Wednesday morning. I'll need to mail her a cheque tomorrow!
5) Having managed to get my phone recharged thanks to one of my friends at the Embassy, I misplaced the phone on Friday morning. I had it in my hotel room just before leaving. I opened my knapsack in the car to take a picture of bunnies on the side of the road when we stopped to investigate a leaking tire; the phone may have fallen out then. Tomorrow I'll be putting in some calls to see if the phone showed up in the car; if not, I'll be getting my friend at the Embassy to see whether it was turned in at the hotel. Hopefully she will be able to mail it back soon.
6) The flight from El Salvador was delayed by an hour when two people decided not to travel at the last minute and their bags had to be retrieved. As a result, I missed my connection in Toronto and lost another hour in travel time. We won't even discuss how much sleep I lost during the week, staying out too late and getting up too early every day.

In non-lost news, El Salvador has made huge progress since I was last there. There is an impressive road network, the quality of houses and cars has improved significantly. I didn't see a single person selling fruit or other goodies on the street. Tourism is way up, according to the locals. There is still poverty, but nothing like when I lived there, except in very remote regions like the ones I went to visit.

Skraeling Althing bunnies are everywhere! These fearless fellows were on the side of a four-lane highway.

El Salvador 2014 093

Francisco, Sara, me, Esly, Karla and Romeo - all former colleagues at the Embassy.
El Salvador 2014 090

Proud graduates of the baking, construction and literacy courses in Ilobasco, partly funded by Canada
El Salvador 2014 070

A few of the grads in the literacy program. These ladies studied reading, writing and practical human rights skills for a year. The lady in front just turned 75. The one directly behind her broke into a dance upon receiving her diploma.
El Salvador 2014 081

Processing coffee beans in rural Usulutan. This project was born following land reform that gave landless peasants small plots of land, many of them with ageing coffee trees. Now, thousands of farmers in 13 communities have improved varieties of younger trees (with more on the way), and a guaranteed market for their beans. The same project has fair trade shops in all the villages so that farmers have access to essential goods and a place to sell their produce. The shops are run by community youth, who now are willing to stay rather than taking their chances with illegal migration or a move to the big city.
El Salvador 2014 044

Traffic jam in San Francisco, Usulutan
El Salvador 2014 022

View from my hotel room, Usulutan
El Salvador 2014 027

siglinde99: (Default)
Almost all the pictures are posted at I haven't posted these, though, as they don't quite fit.

Senegal and Sierra Leone 051
This is an altar support from the 13th C (I think). I liked that it was displayed before a mirror, so you could see both the front and the back.

This is a view from the train - I liked the funky stone houses mixed in with more modern architecture. Many had lovely little gardens, complete with arbours.
Senegal and Sierra Leone 099


Feb. 18th, 2013 05:48 am
siglinde99: (Default)

In the past three weeks:

I have visited three countries.

I have been to 4 airports (one of them 3 times, as I went out for the day while waiting, and returned home through it), plus a bus terminal.

I have slept in 9 hotels, 2 of them twice

I have visited three large cities, 7 smaller cities, and a suburban town

I have been to at least 36 meetings in and between the different towns (plus miscellaneous restaurants and one museum along the way), using 6 different trains, two boats and three different cars.

Throughout, I managed to hang on to far too much stuff, including binders full of documents, stacks of business cards, a bunch of borrowed electronics and literally bags of money

Yet somehow, I managed to lose my blackberry between my last meeting and the airport.

siglinde99: (Default)
I didn’t realize there was a business class lounge in Freetown until a few minutes before departure.  I had been at the airport since around 4:30, waiting for my 8:45 flight (the only boat to the airport was at 4 pm).

In Paris, I was not quite brave enough to go for a facial in the business class lounge. When I finally discovered that the airplane bathroom had Clarins cleanser and toner, I realized I could have been having lots more fun pampering myself all along. I have never purchased Clarins products in my life.

On the flight from Freetown to Paris, I had a lovely reclining seat, with a footrest that I didn’t figure out how to work until the end of the trip. On the flight from Paris to Montreal, my reclining seat was broken. Just as dinner was starting, I asked for help because I could recline, but couldn’t get the seat back into the upright position. I was given the control alt delete instruction – cycle it through a complete recline, and it should engage. That was awkward: stuck lying completely flat, with my open tray table and a glass of champagne above me. I had to move from my preferred window seat to a centre aisle seat, and no easy access to my stack of magazinesL.

siglinde99: (Default)
One of the things I love to do when I travel is take pictures from my hotel room. This started out as a bit of a joke because there were trips that didn't leave me time to see anything else. The view from my room was not particularly exotic, but it had something that I associate wih Paris more than anyplace else: little hidden gems of greenery in courtyards that no-one would suspect exist. I spotted several more of these courtyards when out walking past schools - I found myself reciting lines from the Madeline books as I went past the open doorways while hordes of children with old-fashioned bookbags strapped to their backs headed inside.

It was also rather nice in the evening. I love all the little chimney pots and half expected Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke to skip across the roofs:

Another thing I really like about France, though I find it strange almost anywhere else, is the manicured gardens. This picture was taken in front of the archaeological museum. I'm pretty sure they aren't boxwood trees, but they sure are rectangular!

As was this:

siglinde99: (Default)
I finally got to the Archaeological Museum in Saint Germain en Laye - it has taken 20 years. I spent ages in the two small rooms devoted to Merovingian period finds. I finally got to see the pieces from Arnegunde's tomb. They have reinterpreted her costume and done DNA analysis etc. and there was a brochure all about it. The new interpretation makes much more sense! IIn addition to many many brooches, I saw some huge earrings, a lot of gold thread that is the remains of either embroidery or narrow weaving, and a few combs. I took about 100 picures in those two rooms alone. I tried to pay attention to the gallo-roman finds, or the amazing paleolithic pieces, but I was way too tired and excited about what I had already seen. I bought a few books and two reproduction Merovingian glasses. One is from 6th C Strassbourg (practically Siglinde's home town) and in a design I hadn't seen before. I had not planned to use garnets on the brooches I am making, but after looking at all the beautiful brooches on display, I think I will put two into the design after all, if I can find suitable cabochons.
siglinde99: (Default)

One of my favourite Christmas traditions is adopted from Latin America, though I don't do it quite right. Certain countries, notably Peru and El Salvador, have fantabulous Nativity scenes. They are often supplemented with additional characters that have nothing to do with the Nativity at all. In El Salvador, there is an entire museum devoted to these sets. One of my friends says that her Peruvian mother has a set that started out on the piano, but over the years has grown to dominate much of the living room. 

This was my very first set, purchased in Recife, Brazil in about 1994. Note the giant chicken on the left side. A giant chicken is the mascot of Recife. There is a huge chicken statue in town, and it plays a prominent role in local carnival celebrations. On Saturday night of carnival, 1.5 million people follow the Galo de Madrugada band/dance group (the very late night chicken). 

From left to right, there is a wooden set from La Palma, El Salvador, one inside a gourd, from Peru, and a Guatemalan set with all the figures in indigenous costume. La Palma is famous for its artisan community, which was founded by Fernando Llort in the 1970's. Llort is El Salvador's most well-known painter, who decorated the Metropolitan Cathedral and is often compared to Joan Miro. About 75% of the people in La Palma work in the arts, and most of their work is in the style of Llort.

The one on the left is made of corn husks, and is from Honduras. The one on the right is Peruvian, with all the figures in traditional costume.

Most of these are known as sorpresas, because the cover hides a surprise nativity scene inside. Thy are very popular in El Salvador. While I like the one with the very traditional colonial church, I am most amused by the blatantly commercial/non-religious sorpresas. The one on the back left did not photograph well, but it is sparkly carved white quartz from Peru. The tiny oval is carved from a single seed (from La Palma).

This one is also from El Salvador. It is nestled in a very traditional manger. The angel in back doesn't quite fit, but it is one of the additional characters that would normally surround such a manger.

Here are a few of the traditional additions. These are normally made in the town of Ilobasco, which is well known for its pottery. There is a mariachi band, a woman grinding corn on a metate (flat volcanic rock grinder) and a lady selling flowers. I wasn't able to acquire all the other pieces - bride and groom, old woman, funeral cortege, and vultures in a tree (the best ones are on springs, so they move around). The idea is to build an entire village scene.

The final set is almost boring and traditional in comparison, but I like it because it is considered an appropriate offical gift in El Salvador, but would be completely inappropriate in Canada. It was a gift from the Salvadoran foreign ministry. The sappy sweet faces remind me of Cabbage Patch dolls.


siglinde99: (Default)

December 2016

4 5678910
181920 21222324


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 23rd, 2017 11:25 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios